Getting the Most Out of Your Recruitment Partner

There are many reasons why a business may choose to use a recruitment agency to help fill their vacancies, whether that’s to save on time, resources, or the cost to the business of not having someone in the role. Whatever the reason, if you are paying to use one, make sure that you’re getting proper value for your money.

If you haven’t used an agency before, or perhaps used a very bad one, you may be mistaken into  thinking you’re just going to receive a bunch of CVs in your inbox and be left to chase the recruiter to help get candidates across the line. At one agency where I previously worked, there was a recruiter who said their approach was “throw enough shit, see what sticks.” They were in fact let go after revealing this nugget of wisdom in front of the Regional Director. You can, and should in fact, expect a lot more than this, and below are some of the most valuable resources you can reasonably ask for when engaging a recruiter.

Applicant Testing

When recruiting technical roles, clients often have candidates perform tests to check their skills and ability beyond what’s stated on a CV. Your recruiter should already be sourcing you candidates who possess the technical experience you’ve asked for, but most clients with such roles will then administer a test. Instead of having to use your own internal team to manage this process, why not ask the recruitment agency to coordinate it? After sourcing and shortlisting CVs, they can send you those which are the best fit for a quick sanity check, and once you’re happy with the candidates submitted, put the work back on them to book in and run the tests. If it’s something they can also score, have them do that too, otherwise, they can do the leg work chasing candidates to perform the test and ensure that deadlines are met so as not to delay the recruitment process.

Pre-Interviews

It’s a given that your recruiter will be speaking with your future candidates to qualify them for a role, but how much depth are they going into? What criteria are they using to decide who to shortlist? Are they simply looking for “key words” on a CV and then sending you anyone who says they’re mildly interested? Does their interview/shortlisting process go something like this: “PHP?” Check, “AWS?” Check, “Available at a month’s notice?” “Great, candidate sourcing, done.”

How about instead of just asking them to find candidates who are a good fit technically, they dive a bit deeper and devise questions to identify whether a candidate’s values align with those of your business? Are they identifying people who are going to be a good fit culturally? Have they even taken the time to ask you about the culture and values of the business?

Video submissions

If you’ve been looking for a while to fill a certain role and have CV fatigue, your recruiter should be able to easily put together a portfolio of video submissions from candidates which can go a lot further into not only their experience, but also why they’re applying for the role and why they want to work for your company. This medium is becoming increasingly popular and will be one of the recruitment trends that will likely grow the quickest over the next few years.

Search and Select

Some recruiters still just rely on job boards, combing them every morning for new candidate CVs that went up online overnight and then scramble to be the first one to make contact. While job boards have their place, a good recruiter really has no excuse for solely relying on them in 2019. With social media, LinkedIn, and their own networks they can draw from, recruiters should be conducting more bespoke searches if they’re going to find you the best candidates, rather than just the candidates who are available that day.

Unless you’re in the enviable position of having such a unique proposition that you don’t have any competitors, the chances are there are other companies out there who are not only looking for similar staff to you, but already have them sitting in seats and doing the job. A third-party recruiter can save you a lot of time by identifying talent that is already familiar with the space you work in and the challenges you face and make discreet approaches, having confidential conversations with candidates who may be awkward for your own team to contact directly.

Market insights

Recruitment agencies are privy to a large amount of information and data in the marketplace, and if you’re dealing with a true Recruitment Consultant, they should be able to consult with you on your offering and what candidates in your space are looking for when seeking new opportunities. The sort of valuable information you could reasonably expect them to provide you with includes the following:

  • Salary surveys – the average salary ranges that your competitors are paying to attract and retain talent
  • Remuneration packages – where do you rank among your peers on the extra benefits you’re offering? What is the average holiday entitlement on offer? How many people are offering flexible working or performance-based bonuses?
  • Length of tenure – how long do people in the roles you’re looking to recruit for usually stay with a company? (This can be useful when planning to scale a business and being aware of potential threats in terms of staffing shortages. If you can predict the problem, you can prepare for it.)

Positive representation

Numerous times clients have told me, “don’t direct candidates to our website, it’s out of date and we’re building a new one”. Invariably though, the majority of candidates a recruiter speaks to will google your business the moment its name is mentioned. This is also what they do when they see a job ad or get an InMail on LinkedIn from your internal team. By using a specialist recruiter who understands your business, has met with you and your team, seen your offices and got an understanding of the culture, you have an extra supporter who will take your brand out to the market place and represent you in the best light in attracting passive candidates. Who doesn’t appreciate some free, positive marketing?

A recruitment consultant should be just that, someone to consult with. If you find a good one with specialist knowledge in your space, you can add a valuable external member to your team whose sole purpose is to help you attract and retain the best talent, while saving you time and money in the process.

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Simon Benson
Monthly Contributor: Simon is the founder of a specialist UK-based recruitment business that supports tech startups. He advocates a consultative approach to recruitment and blogs for the benefit of both employers and job seekers as well as on the experience of running a startup himself. He has a background in document editing and loves good coffee and his vinyl collection. Follow him on Twitter @sibenson_wg

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Monthly Contributor: Simon is the founder of a specialist UK-based recruitment business that supports tech startups. He advocates a consultative approach to recruitment and blogs for the benefit of both employers and job seekers as well as on the experience of running a startup himself. He has a background in document editing and loves good coffee and his vinyl collection. Follow him on Twitter @sibenson_wg

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